A close look at Home Rule
Greenland, Nunavut's model?

Marty Brown
Northern News Services

RANKIN INLET (Dec 23/98) - Laura Kowmuk and Robert Tookoome were on an emotional rollercoaster when they returned from a fact-finding mission in Greenland.

There was hope that Nunavut could be like Greenland. There was joy at the similarities. There was determination that Nunavut will work. There was despair at how much work there was still to do.

They had been sent by NTI and came back to the Keewatin with ideas and plans for Nunavut.

"In Greenland, the government works for the people. There's no individual gain, everybody's involved. People think of unity all the time. Would that benefit Greenland? They even develop strategies for poorer parts of the country. They don't compete with each other," Kowmuk said.

Management systems were analyzed. The Greenlandish way is like the old Inuit ways, Tookoome said. It is a flat management style with everyone from the cleaning lady to the president having an equal say in how things are run. Unfortunately, Nunavut looks like a corporate system with the person at the top having the most influence and so on down the line, Tookoome said.

Nunavut has to take advantage of its assets -- people.

"I can't make mitts, teach Sunday School, make bread, raise kids and work full- time," Komuk said.

"Greenland seems to specialize. Society there concentrates on a persons strong points and use these strengths. So I'm going to focus on business development. I'm going to raise my kids and concentrate on business development for Nunavut."

Home Rule has been the government in Greenland since 1979. Now there's five or six parties and a population of 58,000 in Greenland and 12,000 living, working or going to school in Denmark.

"Greenland took on the Danish government functions 20 years ago and then made changes reflecting the majority of the population," Kowmuk said.

"We can't be in a rush here."

While Tookoome was in university he dreamed of Nunavut having trade relations with First Nations people down south. During the trip he realized he can have trade relations with his relations in circumpolar countries and he was very excited.

The language is roughly the same which would make trade easy. A crown corporation oversees the fishing industries that has international sales. "No reason we can't do that," Tookoome said.

The high point of the trip for Tookoome? Meeting an Inuit doctor. That and the fact that Greenlanders see people of Nunavut as all one nation -- they saw us as their relations he said.

Kowmuk said that Nunavut can either look at the past and dwell on it or move on and make a self-government.